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How To Cope With The Layoff Survivor’s Guilt Without Losing Your Mind

By: Lifestyle Desk

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Last Updated: February 04, 2023, 08:29 IST

New Delhi, India

You may be experiencing a range of emotions both during and after the layoff at your company has ended.

You may be experiencing a range of emotions both during and after the layoff at your company has ended.

It can feel quite bad to know that you got through these layoffs while fellow coworkers—or, in the worst instance, someone you were close to—were fired. Here are 5 strategies for handling "Layoff Survivor's Guilt"

People around the globe are witnessing a massive change in their organisations. Many people dread whether they will be next to be laid off. This time of uncertainty can usher in a lot of uncomfortable feelings. Yet it might not be as bad as surviving the layoff. Knowing that you survived this unscathed while your co-workers, in the worst case scenario someone you were close to, were let go can bring a lot of guilt. This can have a significant negative impact on your mental health, including hampering your productivity.

Here are 5 ways you can deal with the Layoff Survivor’s Guilt:

Acknowledge Your Feelings

There might be a lot of emotions brewing inside you during and after the layoff is over in your organisation. These can include guilt, sadness, fear, and perhaps even relief. Though you might want to remain calm and continue working as if nothing unusual is going around you, it is essential to pause and acknowledge all that you feel. Like any difficult situation, if you bottle up your emotions, they will come to the surface later. However, it might not resurface most productively.

Set Better Boundaries

Focus on setting your boundaries better. Being the one left behind means you will be shouldering a lot of responsibility that once belonged to your former co-workers. Create a list of your current responsibilities and prioritise. Take up tasks that you can manage and that align with you. Trying to shoulder more responsibilities than what you can manage is not going to work in your favour and will impact your mental health even more.


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Connect With Co-workers

You can deal with the guilt by reaching out to your former co-workers. Let them know you are willing to offer your support in whatever way possible. You must also take time to connect with the co-workers in your organisation now. Building your support network to look after your mental health is crucial.

Take Off The Pressure

This is especially necessary if you are a manager who has been responsible for the layoffs. Staff reductions automatically mean that your organization will see huge changes. This will impact the functioning of day-to-day activities too. It can build implicit pressure on your employees to function as normally as possible. However, this is neither realistic nor compassionate. You might want to focus on preserving the relationships with your current employees and make sure their productivity is not hampered.

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Talk To Trusted People

If you are having an especially hard dealing with the layoffs, you should consider seeking professional help. Check with the HR department if your company can arrange that for you. Alternatively, you can seek therapy yourself or begin by simply talking to someone close to you that you can trust.

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first published:February 04, 2023, 08:29 IST
last updated:February 04, 2023, 08:29 IST